Tags! And Categories

Not long after WordPress.com began we started calling categories “tags” in some places, most notably our global tags system.

However while our interface made it easy to add categories on the fly, many people were vocal in telling us that categories and tags were not the same thing, and eventually we figured out they were right. (Forgive us, we can be slow sometimes.)

What’s the difference between categories and tags, you ask?

As best as I can explain it, categories are things you create ahead of time and only have a few of. Imagine them like sections of your site. The signs on aisles of grocery stores. Tags are one-off keywords attached to a post. You may add a tag to a post that you’ll never use ever again. Categories are meant to be permanent, tags are ephemeral.

Of course that’s just the accepted usage, you don’t have to change a thing and are welcome to continue using categories as you have since you started your blog.

Before WordPress.com just supported categories, even though we called them tags sometimes, but some people used them as tags, including ourselves.

We’ve added real tagging now.

The new tags interface

Now, at long last, there are separate interfaces for categories and tags so you can use either or both as you see fit based on your personal tagging philosophy. Categories are where they’ve always been to the right of the text box, and you can add tags below the post as a comma-separated list.

This is just the first step, we have some pretty exciting tag-related things coming in the future, so stay tuned.


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Matt

374 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. andotyjazz

    Brilliant. Thanks. I really like this feature. Keep up the good work.

  2. Pingback: برچسب و دسته بندی در وردپرس دات کام ! « UnderLine
  3. nation of moderation

    definitely need this on my blog. i knew there was a difference, but i thought if wordpress didn’t include it, it must not exist

  4. mousewords

    Ah, good! Now I can get rid of my one-post category for “Summer.” :-) ;-)

  5. Sunny

    Great jobs! Thanks a lot.

  6. Pingback: Wordpress Features « Rav’s View
  7. onei

    thanks matt.

  8. mariamtatianna

    How exciting! Thank you :)

  9. chrismcdevitt

    That’s awesome, now I just have to ‘retag’ and ‘categorize’ 100+ posts . :)

  10. The 2 Witches

    Of course now I have to go back through 100s of posts and re-adjust for categories and tags both. But I still love it!!!

    Mama Kelly

  11. Tracy

    cool!

  12. europeanview

    Good thing, and good thing we have our blog for only a short while, not so many retaggings to do

  13. The Spray Can

    Great, now categories section won’t be so crowded anymore.

  14. Oswaldo Docherty

    Great stuff, retagged all and i am now i am going for a drink.

  15. بهائي مصري

    I used categories as tags anyway, maybe you should’ve just renamed it to”tags”. Now I have to go and make all my categories into tags and remove categories that I used as tags.

  16. helena55

    finally!!!

  17. qgil

    Cool, thanks.

    Mmm it is unclear to me though what happens now to the “tagcloud” applet. Currently is doing a proper job interpreting categories as tags. If I move the categories to tags… will I loose the tagcloud?

  18. Claudio De Simony

    Excelent!!!. I was looking for that. Helps to organize the bolgs better. Thank you!!!

  19. wanderlust

    Such a boon…. now to spend the rest of my weekend tagging and recategorizing posts :D

  20. qgil

    Ah, never mind. I just saw that the former “tagcould” is now “category cloud” and a new tag cloud applet is ready to be used.

    Starting the move… (lucky me my blogs at wordpress.com are young)

  21. Mick

    Excellent!

  22. Grace

    Yay. Can’t wait to try them out.

  23. Alison

    SWEET! Thanks guys, I have been hoping you would make the distinction and add tagging. :)

  24. fabien

    hmmm… I love this option. In my food blog I can now divide any post into categories (fish, dessert, bread, etc.) and tags (eggs, onions, sausage, etc.) but there’s a problem: I’ve tried to activate the tag cloud widget and it works except for the links… They’re pointing to blog/tag/post but they open the blog/category/post page so they return a 404 Error…

    I think something has to be fixed… anyway I’m still updating my 200 old posts…
    Thanks dudes.

  25. Pingback: Ein neues Theme für AmPoV « A minor Point of View
  26. Stephen

    Just a suggestion: keep the tag links going to the global tag pages, but have the categories go to the category pages on the blog itself. It doesn’t make sense when tags AND categories are going to the global TAG page…

  27. Milla

    Thanks a lot, guys! This IS useful, by all means.

  28. Howard

    Yes, I’d like news on what you’re planning with tags in the future. (I’ve been using categories as tags too.) Will a change-a-category-to-a-tag tool be in your plans?!

  29. Gabriel...

    Keeping the two separate is great, and will make things much easier to archive, but if I’m reusing the same tags why not have a section similar to the Category area to store them?

  30. joseantoniook

    Great,

    Now I can have real tags. Just can´t wait to use it.

  31. truenet

    Hello,
    I am still in the dark! How do I put a category or tag on my blog ? I have written 2 blogs, but don’t have them categorized ot taged, Can I still do it? if so How? Can some kind person help, please, ‘truenet’

  32. Brendan

    This is good, but I need a mass tag editing thing to fix my blog. I want to remove all the one-time-use categories so I can only have a few, and maybe actually list the categories on the front page. Can you guys release something like that? Maybe it’s already in the works. ;)

  33. Brendan

    This is good, but I need a mass tag editing thing to fix my blog. I want to remove all the one-time-use categories so I can only have a few, and maybe actually list the categories on the front page. Can you guys release something like that? Maybe it’s already in the works. ;) Oh, and good job on this fix.

  34. miquie's crew

    AWESOME! and thank you!!!

  35. DAVE ID

    If there was one big feature I was missing from my old blog was tagging. I’m one happy camper now. Thanks WP Gods :D

  36. BlackBellow

    Thank you! I was wondering how to get along with only few categories, tagging solves my “problem”. I am happy :-)

  37. opengiga

    that’s great

  38. Vish

    Brilliant! Now I shall attempt to sort out my categories appropriately and use tags indiscriminately. Thanks guys.

  39. coolsmurf

    finally, now it will look more organised…

  40. muttnutt

    Tags: good, about, time, thanks

  41. Connie

    At last! Thank you. It just keeps getting better.

  42. Julia

    “Better late than never” almost applies here. almost.
    If only it were made simple to switch to tags now for old posts instead of keeping dozens of categories for 500+ posts. Yikes! Gotta say I’m not too stoked about switching in the middle of a pattern, but maybe in the future there will be a tool for switching.

    Thanks for the feature all the same.

  43. typingisnotactivism

    gratitude, good-ideas, user-adaptive, XLNT-WP-dvlprz, thx, ;)

  44. photographerno1

    you should have done this long time ago somtimes seeig you neighbors fence helps keeping your own fence upright, buzznet , bloggerspot , flickr, all are step ahead , imagine scrolling 1000 tags..with a wounded hand..you should sti;; simlify it your categories and tags suck and are not blogger friendly.. a part of me is still at word press though i cross blog from flickr…
    firoze shakir
    photographerno1

  45. alejna

    This is very cool. I’ve been planning to do some housekeeping in the category area, and now I have extra motivation to do so. (I once made the category “ducks” on a whim, and have often wondered since then if I should then make other duck-related posts.)

    I’m curious about how tags and categories will be related to one another, especially for things like Technorati tags, and the WordPress tag surfer. I guess I’ll find out.

  46. Richmond

    I was thinking about that for about a month now. thank you. I really like it.

  47. laterain

    this is great . . . but I will struggle now also to decide whether to go back and tweak my last 100 posts.

    and how are we doing with those feed stats?!

  48. Red Kid

    yeeeaah!! my blog’s so much better… :D thanx
    Simplicity Rulz!!!!

  49. Judy O'Connell

    About time! but I’m VERY grateful. Thanks team.

  50. christiancommunicationcentre

    This is Ebenezer from Christian Communication Centre like to invite friends those who Christians to know about the Centre formation.

  51. mittins

    this is going to change the way i do dishes !

  52. Kurazaybo

    I have been awaiting this day since I landed on wordpress.com, kudos!!!

  53. darabuc

    Thanks! I was wondering where my categories list would end…

  54. Bill Gates

    Thank you.

  55. Sam Carson

    Thanks, this is really helpful

  56. Pingback: tags & categories « zement
  57. José Luis

    From Spain.

    Nice. Powerful.
    What is better to put the labels in English or in the own language?

  58. sungame

    Wonderful. A treat to all of us used to organizing photos in Photostation.

  59. the rufus

    Gives me some fine nights tag and re-categorize the approx. 160 posts. I guess I’ll await the next information on tags and new features around them so I needn’t rework afterwards.

    In the meantime I could just tag (! not categorize :) ) some thousand photos. But anyhow, GREAT WORK!!! (are you working on tag cloudes as well ? would be nice)

  60. MadMark

    Thank you and congrats for this new feature!

    It increases dramatically the visibility and the knowledge for Blogs and Post, it’s a great new way to find what’s around us!

  61. Tommy

    Thanks :D

  62. deepfriedbheja

    Thank you! I can dump some of my categories now….great!

  63. Alice

    woop!

  64. perplexityshe

    nice :)

  65. Pingback: How to make WordPress’ new Tags work with Windows Live Writer « Getting IT Right
  66. Sanat

    Good example is imagine a sport subject weblog they have a routine of Sport News posting and all related post are in the News Category but in each news there are People names, cities, stadiums e.g David Beckham! and bla bla bla which these are called keywords of post! Tags is feature to give power to the posts keywords and its very essential to have Tags in these days blogging.

  67. Adam Vero

    A great idea, and hopefully people will use the two things (categories and tags) properly, and not simply duplicate them. The hierarchical nature of categories works really well to provide a usable structure for your readers. Tags are flat and much more serendipitous. I have a personal bugbear with people who have massive category lists so it is almost impossible to see what their blog is actually about at a glance.

    There seem to be some issues around the Tag cloud widget, slow to update and on mine at least it redirects to categories instead (so it fails). Hopefully this will resolve over the next few days.

    If you use Windows Live Writer you might want to read about how to get tags to work, because if you edit a post with tags they will get dropped if you have not enable them in WLW:
    http://veroblog.wordpress.com/2007/09/23/how-to-make-wordpress-new-tags-work-with-windows-live-writer/

  68. Crystal King

    YAY!!!!! FINALLY! It was one thing that I really missed about other blog software I’ve used in the past. THANK YOU!

  69. raycosm

    Alright! I was always afraid to use categories as tags, cause I might only use them once, and it just clogs up the category selection window.

  70. fabiolacastillo

    Muchas grassy ass. I’ve been waiting for this change to happen for some time now.

    Fabiola Castillo

  71. imadethis

    excellent news

  72. bdoza

    Categories are not tags. From now on we could use category and tag differently. We are moving on. Thanks.

  73. megaarchlord

    That’s great, thanks.

  74. Pingback: Най-накрая тагове в wordpress.com « katsarov
  75. remmington

    Great News…

  76. Woeful

    This finally allows for much more flexibility in organization, thanks!

  77. Pingback: Tags and categories « Re.Mark
  78. FXSmom

    Some people just learn a little slower!! It’s all good. It’s better to come around eventually than to never have come around at all. Now I can finally tag/categorize the way I want. Like poor chrismcdevitt I need to retag and categorize a gazillion posts. Think thats a good reason to call in sick Monday ;)

  79. emmettjones

    Yeah…this is definitely a good move. Now if you could only make some fast way to re-categorize everything i’ve already done. then, i’d be your best friend forever.

  80. Maverick

    great feature, was craving for this from a long time. Now i just hope the themes would be modified soon to show the tags. Having tags and not showing them is almost equalent to not having them

  81. scrabblenut

    woo hoo!!

  82. shirls 雪芬

    Finally !!! You guyes are great !

  83. माझी दुनिया

    thnax and gr8 ! though it has added bloggers work to add tags and recetagorise the 100+ posts, it is still appreciated to have two way categorization. BTW, how the search will work now ?

  84. माझी दुनिया

    BTW, i will appreciate
    1) if we all get a chance to add the tags to bunch of post at the same time
    also
    2) to see the list of tags used by me in earlier post and to able to select from them instead of typing it out everytime , coz; mistake in the tagging/spelling will loose the purpose of it.

  85. Kunal

    this is good :)

  86. Viral Trivedi

    ello wordpress, Thank you!

  87. rawbehavior

    yep

  88. Pingback: Utility: Enable keywords/tags for Windows Live Writer « whateverblog.
  89. dh

    Hey Guys,

    I’ve just used this new tags feature and it works really well.

    Thanks again!

  90. Pingback: Hooray, real tags are there, but… « !anaj ,em s’taht
  91. Netty Gritty

    great!

    how about having drop-down tags (with parent-child hierarchy and post counts) widgets in the sidebar now?

    i can’t help noticing the new “category cloud”. nice job!

    thanks

  92. anaj

    In theory, that’s great, but if I delete my nearly 1000 categories now, all my previous posts will be ‘lost’, and since I am a daily blogger, there is now way that I am going to edit all those posts manually. Also, my categories list will remain cluttered, even though there are tags now.

    Seems like quite a few people used the WP categories like tags. Was there not an opportunity to allow one to export categories to tags, and start afresh? Or alternatively, simply rename the old categories to be tags and introduce a standard category system. But true, that would have been much trickier to implement. Not sure how I am going to go about this now.

  93. Dennis Wright

    My categories were starting to get out of control. I had never quite been able to verbalise what was wrong with the system but it clearly wasn’t working right.

    Your explanation of what you’ve done and why is crystal clear and makes sense of it all.

    Thank you.

  94. Doc

    Great idea and change. Now all I have to do is figure out how to remove all the categories I’ve created. Pages were getting a bit on the crowded side.

  95. Bas

    Finally, now to integrate these tags with del.icio.us, stumbleupon, digg, reddit and other web 2.0 services… ;-)

  96. vinu

    “Categories are meant to be permanent, tags are ephemeral.” aargh finally … the bulb is shining! :-) guess that meant some mysql optimization to all the million tables you guys have ;P

    keep it up!

  97. isisnedloni

    Thank you for explaning…..
    a categorie is like a special store
    and the tags the things you show in the store so they can be connected……Yes…I’ve made a mess ….throughing these items together and I don’t know how to solve them……

  98. moraie

    Oh thank god. I had more than 50 categories with subcategories and sub-sub categories. Now here’s the question. When do I start? Should I wait until you get past step one? Or is the future just adding options like power re-tagging.

  99. Winslie Gomez

    Thanks
    I’ve learn’t something. Wow!

  100. Bobbi

    How will this affect the “tag cloud” widget? Will it still pull from categories? or from the new tags?

    Thanks for a great new feature, just figuring out how to use it.

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